Tributes to nurse who dedicated more than 40 years of her life to helping others

Tributes have been paid to a caring nurse who dedicated more than 40 years of her life to helping others.

Ita Priestley of Mercer Cresent, Helmshore suddenly passed away from pneumonia at Royal Blackburn Hospital, aged 65. The beloved mother-of-two worked at Roselands Care Home in Rawtenstall and Rossendale General Hospital.

She was also a volunteer for Rossendale Hospice and Rossendale Talking Newspapers for around five years. Her husband, Michael, who she affectionately called Mick, said: “She had a wicked sense of humour we both shared.

“She loved her family and she was caring and had many friends. She was very proud of her boys and it is largely credit to her that they grew up into such fine young men.

“She liked to care for people and she loved her career.


"Words cannot describe how devastated we are feeling. We say goodbye to a wonderful and much-loved wife, mum, grandmother, sister, auntie and friend to many taken from us far, far too early.”

Ita was transferred to Burnley General Hospital when Rossendale General Hospital closed in 2010. hen she retired, Ita spent her time helping the community.

She helped with Rossendale Hospice’s many fundraising events including the Gin Trek and she did bucket collections in Tesco in Haslingden. Ita took great pride in her garden and enjoyed planting vegetables and flowers.

She secured an allotment on Free Lane, Helmshore in 2014 and she spent many happy hours there. Ita and Michael set about transforming it into a workable plot and she was very proud of the eventual outcome.

She would stop to talk to any fellow plot holders near the path. Last year she took over the role of secretary of the allotment society.

Ita was born to parents Michael and Anne Kirwan in Albrighton, Shropshire. The devoted grandmother-of-two grew up along with her two elder sisters, Ursula and Teresa and three younger brothers Mel, Nicholas and Richard in Lincoln.

After leaving school at 16 she worked for a short time as an office assistant for General Accident Insurance in Lincoln. Her future husband, Michael was starting his career in an office just across the street.

Ita was accepted as a trainee nurse and did her training at the County Hospital and St George’s Hospital in Lincoln. She qualified as a State Registered Nurse in 1977.

Ita obtained a post at Southampton General Hospital where she did her Children’s Nurse training and qualified as a Registered Children’s Nurse in 1984. She met fellow pupil, Jane while doing her training, who became her lifelong friend.

Ita first met Michael in 1979 when his friend was dating Ita’s sister Teresa. They were both also friends with her other sister Ursula.

The couple got married in 1981 in Lincoln and they enjoyed trips abroad and in the UK. They especially enjoyed visiting Trearddur Bay in Anglesey.

Michael secured a job in Rossendale and the couple moved to the borough in 1987. After renting a house in Haslingden, they bought a house on Mercer Crescent in Helmshore which continues to be the family home.

Ita would accompany Michael and their children Christopher and James on trips to car shows, museums and races.

Ita will be dearly missed by her son Christopher and his wife Kirsty and her son James and his wife Sarah, her adored grandchildren and siblings Ursula, Teresa, Mel, Nicholas and Richard.